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I Have To Graduate This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     Sometimes the days get so tough that I don’t know if I’m going to make it. Some people can’t understand why I don’t just give up, why I don’t just quit school. I keep wondering that myself; the career I plan on doesn’t even require a diploma.

Then I remember all the things my father said to me that awful day. He never thought in a million years that I would even make it this far. But I don’t plan on giving up. One of my dreams has always been to graduate high school. That doesn’t sound like a very big dream, but if you were in my family you would understand. I will be the first female in my family to graduate from high school. That’s why I’ve been so determined to make it all these years. It’s been a tough ride trying to get to where I am today, though.

“I need a break, school is driving me crazy,” I keep telling my mom. Once, when I said that, she said that a G.E.D. was just as good as a diploma. I told her that it wasn’t good enough for me, and she never said that again. Now she thinks that I am trying as hard as I can to be better than her, but it’s not like that. I just want to be better for myself and for my family. This might sound a little crazy, but my family is my motivation.

No woman in my family - and few men - have ever received a diploma. I can’t help but want to change that. But that isn’t the only reason I am so determined - it’s really because of a dream I had. I dreamed that in a few years, Katie will come up to me and look me straight in the eye and tell me she wants to be just like me when she grows up. When I woke up I realized something - I can’t give up! If I were to give up, then I would have few options for jobs. The world of work is getting so demanding that soon you probably won’t even be able to work at McDonald’s without a a high-school diploma. I want to be able to get a better job and make a good living so I can raise my children to do the same. What kind of a mother would I be if when times got a little hard, I quit?

That’s why even though I have a kid and had to stay in school an extra year, I’m going to make it. I am determined to make it. I want to and will put on that cap and gown, walk across that stage, and shake Mr. Cook’s hand while I receive my diploma. Not for my parents. Not for myself, either, but for Katie, my daughter. She is the reason I will make it in the end so that in the future that dream I had won’t be a dream but a reality. I hope I get the chance to have such an impact in my daughter’s life that she wants to turn out just like me.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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